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New novel a “frolicking caper” simultaneously probes fears about global warming, aging, more

Sally St. Johns is on a mission--to save the planet from global warming and to clear her name.  Implicated in a terrorist plot to control all sources of energy, Sally draws on her colorful past, an idealistic attorney, and an aging mother to bring the real terrorist to justice.  

We have never featured a work of fiction on Greening of the Great Lakes, but when I learned of a new novel touted as “a wickedly funny eco-thriller dramatizing the deadly seriousness of global warming,” I had to find out more.

The novel is Sally St. Johns, and the author is Denise Heinze—and, yes, I am very proud to disclose she is also my sister!

The roots of Sally St. Johns spring from Denise’s childhood growing up in rural Macomb County.  “We were raised on 6-plus acres . . . and our daily lives involved an intimate relationship with nature.” 

“We did not have alarm clocks; we had cows, roosters and birds to awaken us,” she remembers.  I spent more time climbing trees than in the malls.”

“As I have moved on in life, I realize how much I have missed that relationship, and I wonder if future generations will be able to experience the same things I did.” 

This is especially true, Denise says, given the threats of global warming.  “I am not an environmental activist, but, given all that is going on, I am deeply concerned about the future of the planet.”

While Denise characterizes Sally St. Johns as “a frolicking caper,” it has an underlying seriousness that extends beyond global warming into such areas as race relations, women’s rights and aging—“critical aspects of the human experience.” 

Why then explore such profound, complex issues in a satirical, comedic context?  For Denise, laughter can prove therapeutic especially as anxiety and fear heighten.  “Sometimes, in laughter, there are moments of awareness and relief that one would not otherwise have.” 

The novel is available both in print and ebook versions or on Denise’s website.  The print version is also available (print on demand) at Amazon and all other major retailers.

Greening of the Great Lakes airs inside MSU Today Sunday afternoons at 4:00 on 94.5 FM and AM 870.

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